– Minister of Information and culture, Lai Muhammed, has denied the rumour that the President intends to Islamise the nation
– The minister said allegations of plans to Islamise the country is being peddled by people who aim to tarnish the image of the president
– He appealed to the media to desist from providing a platform for exponents of incendiary statements that can divide the nation
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has condemned the statements by some religious leaders alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is planning to Islamise Nigeria.
In a statement by the minister’s special assistant on media and publicity, Segun Adeyemi, Mr. Mohammed said the allegations are being peddled to tarnish the President’s image.
According to Premium Times, Muhammed who spoke at a town hall meeting in Ilorin, Kwara state said: “The alleged Islamisation of Nigeria under the current administration is totally false and should be perceived in its entirety as a campaign of calumny,” the statement said.
“There is no bigger threat to the peace and unity of our country today than religion-coated incendiary messages, which are being carelessly sent out by some religious, political and opinion leaders.
“In recent times, the media has been increasingly awash with incendiary statements that seem designed to pitch the adherents of the two prominent religions in the country, Christians and Muslims against one another. Such fallacies like the Islamisation of Nigeria, the killing of Christians by Muslims, the labelling of Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world can only serve one purpose: trigger a religious war.
“Needless to say that no nation ever survives a religious war. Those who are making these allegations know that they are not true, but they have found in religion another tool to demonize the government of the day, divert attention from the government’s anti-corruption stance and create undue tension in the polity.
“Make no mistake about it, there have been conflicts between adherents of the two major religions in certain parts of the country. To now extrapolate from that to say Nigeria is the most dangerous place for Christians in the world is a disservice to Nigeria and an overkill. What those who are pushing this negative narrative about Nigeria do not know is that if they succeed in giving Nigeria a bad name in the comity of nations, they too will not escape the consequences that will result therefrom.”
He alleged that religious leaders making the “incendiary statements” were being used by political groups to undermine government.
“The secular nature of Nigeria’s Constitution makes the issue of religious dominance and impunity improbable. It is also important to note that the underlying principle of religious conflict may not be purely religious, but more often than not coloured with political connotations as vividly depicted in the case of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
“And more often than not, conflicts between Muslims and Christians are fuelled by political motivations, ethnic differences, extremism, intolerance and terrorism.
“Let me appeal to the media to desist from providing a platform for exponents of incendiary statements, those who will latch on to religion and ethnicity to divide us, and those who have no qualms about leveraging their privileged positions to give Nigeria a bad name in the international community.”
Meanwhile, the presidency in the last week of December 2016 announced that the federal government will deepen its partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to fund critical projects in health, water and the infrastructure sector.
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